NYC fund awards biotech prizes

Four local scientists win $250,000 each from a Partnership for NYC fund intended to spur city biotech. The winners offer cancer and arthritis remedies.

Crain's New York Business—June 4, 2012

Four New York City scientists received $250,000 each on Monday to push new biomedical projects toward their final stages of research. The Partnership for New York City doled out the BioAccelerate NYC prize for the third year in a row, as first reported in Crain's Health Pulse.

The phase between initial research for a biomedical device and the moment that it goes into development is known to investors as the "valley of death." Traditional grants, like those from the National Institutes of Health, dry up. But projects are still too unproven for venture capitalists to take a stake.

The goal of the fund is not only to back promising New York City scientists but to grow the city's biotech sector. Of the $5 million set aside for the prize, $3.75 million has been spent over the last three years. It's too soon to tell how successful the previous winners have been, Ms. Gotsch said.

Among this year's winning projects is an implant to stop cartilage from deteriorating in arthritic joints.

"Without the funding, I'd end up going door to door," said Suzanne Maher, Ph.D., a mechanical engineer at Hospital for Special Surgery. The hospital provided funding to first test her implants. To convince private companies to develop the device, she has to prove it works in a larger scale, which she'll attempt to do with her prize money.

Ms. Maher does not expect the prize money to go toward expanding her team much at this stage.

Read the full story at crainsnewyork.com.

Read the full announcement from Partnership for New York City at bioacceleratenyc.org.

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